It’s Important to Get Outdoors During Cold Weather Months and Here’s Why
Going outside may not be on your list of things to do during the cold weather months, but it should be. In fact, getting outdoors at least once a day is so important, you should add it to the TOP of your daily to-do list. Why? Well, doing so can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and well-being. Here are a few, specific reasons you’ll want to get outdoors during cold weather months.
Get Some Fresh Air
Did you know Americans spend an estimated 90 percent of their time indoors? It’s a scary statistic, isn’t it? Being indoors happens more often as the weather gets colder, because many people may try to stay inside in an effort to stay warm. Unfortunately, indoor air quality tends to be worse during autumn and winter months. This is because people often don’t open their windows and doors at this time of year to air out their homes. As a result, some indoor areas can have a concentration of pollutants between two and five times higher than outdoor air pollution.
Your home needs to be aired out often, especially in colder months, in order to prevent a build up of indoor air pollution. Smoke, dust mites, pet dander, mold, carbon monoxide, chemicals, cleaners, as well as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from various products and materials you have throughout your home, can all contribute to poor indoor air quality.
Getting outdoors daily ensures you get some fresh air. You can breathe deep and give yourself a break from the stale air inside. Make sure your family members do the same.
As an additional step, I recommend you open your doors and/or windows on a regular basis. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it’ll help clear out the stale, harmful air pollutants and bring in some fresh, clean air.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Studies have shown fresh air can actually help reduce airborne illness and infection. Even when you are feeling a little under the weather, getting outdoors can help. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you are bundled up accordingly. You don’t want to go outside and make yourself sick/sicker because you neglected to wear a jacket, scarf, hat or boots in cold weather.
The point is, going outside can help you get away from indoor germs and toxins that have built up around your house. You can breathe in the fresh air, get yourself moving around a bit and soak in some natural Vitamin D.
Get Some Exercise
Getting outdoors during the cold weather months is a simple, yet effective way to get some exercise. You can go for a walk, take a hike with family and friends, run errands to local stores or even take the kids to play at the park. Again, be sure to dress accordingly. You don’t want someone getting sick because they didn’t dress for the colder weather.
You don’t have to wait until you make your New Year’s resolutions to start exercising. Add getting outdoors into your daily schedule and you can exercise all winter long.
Another nice thing about exercising outdoors in cold temps is you can burn more calories. You will produce more endorphins, as well, which can help improve your overall state of mind. With a little cold weather cardiovascular exercise, you’ll also be able to strengthen your heart muscles. Of course, you should always check with a medical professional before beginning a new exercise regiment.
A few tips for those planning to exercise in colder weather: wear layers you can peel off as you go, wear a hat and gloves (if weather conditions necessitate), take care to keep your extremities warm, hydrate throughout your workout and watch out for hazards, like ice.
Improve Your Mood
Getting outdoors is a wonderful way to improve your mood during the autumn and winter months. It’s not uncommon for people to feel tired, sad, depressed, fatigued, overwhelmed or stressed during this time of year. Sometimes the cold weather, or diminished daily sunlight, just makes you feel kind of blah.
Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy to get your daily dose of natural Vitamin D from the sun during the cold weather months. It is still possible, however, and these tips can help you get the vitamin D you need to stay healthy, fight infection and combat seasonal depression.
In addition, getting outdoors can help you connect with nature. When people connect with nature, it helps to alleviate stress. Putting your attention on the beauty of the world around you can be extremely relaxing. When you unplug, get outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and really look at the trees, flowers, birds, sky, clouds and nature all around you, your mood improves. Your stresses begin to melt away and, as your mood improves, you may even find you’re able to come up with solutions to problems you earlier found “unsolvable”.
Ignite Your Imagination
When you take the time to unplug and get outdoors, you’re likely to ignite your imagination. Think about it…if you’re tired, sad, stressed, overwhelmed with work or experiencing seasonal depression, you’re less likely to come up with solutions to problems or activities to do with family and friends. You’re just not in the mood, are you? Well, when you get outdoors, you give yourself a chance to de-stress. You can clear your mind and focus outward from your internal struggles. It doesn’t mean your troubles magically disappear, but you might feel more adept at addressing them after you’ve spent some time outdoors.
Give it a try. Figure out something you can do outside. Maybe you can start with something like spotting animal tracks. If you have fresh fallen snow, build a snowman or a fort. See how many different types of trees you can spot. Go on a scavenger hunt. Bring your camera and see what inspires you.
Getting Outdoors During Cold Weather
No matter what you plan to do over the holidays, or during the cold weather months, I recommend you make getting outdoors a priority. Even if you do it for only a few minutes, you’ll feel better when you get some fresh air and connect with the nature on a daily basis. Just unplug for a moment, step outside, breathe deep and clear your mind. Then, when time allows, go for a walk or take a hike. Bundle up accordingly and enjoy every minute. You’ll be glad you did.